Many Indians are giving the traditional diyas and vibrant rangolis a miss this Diwali, the festival of lights.
More people are now open to the idea of spending Diwali away from home, according to a report from online travel company MakeMyTrip. Compared to last year, 18% more people will fly to international tourist destinations during this festival season, the report states.
The findings are based on bookings done on MakeMyTrip for travel during the days around Diwali (Nov. 7) in comparison to the same period last year.
Thailand is the most trending international destination this season, as bookings to the southeast Asian nation have seen a 25% growth, compared with the same period last year. Bookings to other popular destinations have also seen an uptick.
There was also a 22% increase in domestic travel bookings through the MakeMyTrip portal during Diwali. The hill station of Coorg (Kodagu) in the southern Indian state of Karnataka was the most popular domestic retreat, according to the data.
Travellers are also loosening their purse strings this time as there has been an increase in the number of people choosing luxury hotels. About 4% of the travellers this year have upgraded their bookings from mid-range hotels to four- or five-star hotels, according to the data.
And as if almost on cue, airline companies, too, lined up Diwali sales to make travel more enticing.
Despite the Indian aviation sector bleeding heavily due to a concoction of macroeconomic and sector-related factors, airline companies are waging discount wars to lure more customers.
India’s largest private airline, IndiGo had announced on Oct. 24 a Diwali special sale, offering all-inclusive fares starting from Rs899 ($12.34).
Jet Airways, the second-largest airline by passengers flown, also announced a seven-day global fare sale. Effective from Oct. 30, the sale had offered savings of up to 30% on both economy and premium class fares across the airline’s network.
Low-cost carriers, too, were aggressive participants in the price war. SpiceJet was offering domestic flight tickets at an all-inclusive price of Rs888 as part of its festive season sale. AirAsia India, too, was offering up to 70% discount on bookings till Oct. 28.
However, for a sector facing headwinds, discounts and price wars would be the only way to rake in more money. “With crude prices leaving very less scope for airlines to celebrate, watered down discounts would be the only way to earn anything extra for the aviation companies,” said Ashish Nainan, an aviation sector analyst with CARE Ratings.